Book store turns used titles into new opportunities for North Lawndale students

CHICAGO — One pop-up store is turning old books into new opportunities for students in Chicago's North Lawndale neighborhood.

Sandwiched between big-time retailers downtown, Carpe Librum (Seize the Book) has been selling donated books for the last three years, donating all profits directly to six North Lawndale Public Schools. Those profits pay for literacy events for thousands of CPS families that would otherwise not be in the budget.

"Not only are you getting a cheap book, but [also] you're helping a cause which means a lot to people," said Jacob Dimuzio, founder of nonprofit Turning the Page, which opened the stores.

Since the store first opened, CPS families have received thousands of gifted books and had access to special programing. William Penn Elementary is one of the schools that has benefited from the donations. Principal Dr. Moore-Ollie says the program has been a critical part of promoting literacy among CPS families.

"We want our children to have bright futures. We don't always get a lot of resources in our schools in North Lawndale, so we are thrilled to have any help," Moore-Ollie said.

Dimuzio said the used book stores also encourage both kids and their parents to grow as readers and facilitators.

"It all comes back to the book," Dimuzio said with a smile.

Carpe Librum is always looking for donations, and will even pick them up if there are five or more boxes.